Give Me That Mountain

Not All Emotions Are Necessary

A Change of Mind. Day four...

I don't like being around a drama king or queen. To me it's like having to walk through an emotional minefield. And emotions should never be given that kind of preferential treatment. When emotions rule a life they ruin a life.

American psychologist Robert Plutchik created the wheel of emotions which is pictured below. I make no claim as to the accuracy of this model because I am looking at emotion from a Biblical perspective, not a scientific perspective. I am certain, however, that each of us has personally experienced most, if not all, of the emotions listed on this wheel.

wheel of emotions

At this point I go in a different direction from those who have been trained in mental health from the world's perspective. My responsibility is to offer a Biblical perspective on the mind, the will, and the emotions—referred to in Scripture as the “soul” of a man.

The Greek word “psyche” is translated (in the KJV) into the English word “soul.” (The corresponding word in Hebrew is “nephesh.”) The soul is one aspect of our life here on this earth. The soul, together with our physical body and our spirit, constitutes our existence as human beings.

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:8 KJV)

God just has an entirely different way of dealing with emotions than does the world. The world doesn't seem to differentiate between good and bad emotions. The world doesn't seem to want us to deny any emotion—as if the denial of an emotion is unhealthy in some way.

  • “You need to get that anger out in the open.”
  • “How do you really feel?”
  • “You need to share your feelings with her.”
  • “You need to admit that you're afraid.”
  • “Go vent your frustration (appropriately of course).”

But when we do follow the world's recommendation to “get in touch with our inner feelings,” we frequently end up being told we need remediation, such as anger management classes.

God, however, differentiates between good and bad emotions.

He would cut off about half of that “wheel of emotions” and tell us to forget about those he removed.

  • But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. (Colossians 3:8 NLT)
  • Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back. (Proverbs 29:11 NLT)
  • A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense. (Proverbs 19:11 NIV)
  • Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32 KJV)
  • When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19–21 NLT)

Instead, God wants us to only accept a life filled with the good emotions.

  • But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self‐control. (Galatians 5:22–23a NLT)
  • Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. (1 Corinthians 13:4–5 NLT)
  • Always be joyful. (1 Thessalonians 5:16 NLT)
  • Trust in the LORD with all your heart. And do not lean on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5 NASB)

Please note: For the purposes of our discussion I am very loosely defining what is an emotion. For example, the trust I have for God is a feeling (an emotion as defined by Plutchik's wheel) but to trust God is obviously much more than just a feeling.

But selecting healthy emotions is not like selecting healthy items from a restaurant menu.

Healthy emotions are the byproducts of a renewed mind.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2 NKJV)

When we have the presence of mind to recognize God's perfect will, we have access to a life of sound thinking, free from the emotional responses that make life miserable.

Have a good weekend,
Mike

–––––––—

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter